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Potent Pleasures (Enchanged Pleasures) Hardcover – August 10, 1999

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Product Details

  • Series: Enchanged Pleasures
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (August 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333603
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,588,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When the young Lady Charlotte Caverstill attends a local masked ball while on holiday in the countryside, she has no intention of dishonoring herself. But a handsome man ignites an unknown passion in her, and she finds herself willingly following him into the shadows of the garden. Before the night is over, Charlotte has surrendered her heart, as well as her virginity, to this man whom she doesn't know.

Though Alex McDonough Foakes spends the entire summer trying to track down the mysterious maiden from the masquerade ball, he cannot find her. Sent to Italy, he seeks solace in an ill-fated marriage, and returns years later a father, a widower, and a pessimist in love. When Alex meets Charlotte, he falls madly in love with her--despite his inability to recognize her--and proposes. She refuses. How can she marry a man who does not remember her after such an intimacy? And if she does, how can she explain her lack of virginity?

In this, her debut novel, author Eloise James takes special care to test and develop her characters in different situations. Unlike books with the familiar cart-before-the-horse plot, James does not restrict her characters to the bedroom; as Charlotte and Alex interact with friends and family in different arenas, they become more realistic and interesting. And though their motives are not always believable, the lovers appear to be a part of a greater world--one that will quickly capture the reader's imagination. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien

From Publishers Weekly

Is he or isn't he? That's the question on London society's collective mind in this slow-starting but ultimately satisfying Regency romance. Alexander Foakes, earl of Sheffield and Downes, allowed his Italian wife, Maria, to divorce him on grounds that he was impotent, but now he turns up with a baby daughter he claims is his child by Maria, who kept Pippa's birth a secret until she was dying. Charlotte Calverstill, the unmarried Lady Daicheston, can't believe he is impotentAafter all, he "ruined" her in a garden three years ago before leaving for ItalyAbut Alex doesn't seem to remember their tryst. Nonetheless, he is smitten with the new Charlotte in her trend-setting French gowns, and since Alex requires a mother for Pippa, Charlotte is his choice. Charlotte is less than thrilled that her first lover doesn't even remember their unplanned assignation, but her hormones are drawing her back to Alex, who desperately wants a virgin bride after the debacle of his previous marriage. Thus, the stage is set for surprises all around, though dedicated Regency readers will spot developments well in advance. There are a few unexpected twists, however, and James introduces several well-integrated subplots for variety. As an independent woman with kind and understanding parents who wouldn't dream of pressuring her to marry, Charlotte may not be a realistic representative of her era, but she is an engaging heroine. The depth of characterizations, the steady progression of the plot and the tongue-in-cheek title will attract readers who may just greet James as the next Amanda Quick. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

A reviewer from USA Today wrote that she "found herself devouring [Eloisa's] book like a dieter with a Hershey bar"; People Magazine raved that "romance writing does not get much better than this." Eloisa wrote her first novel after graduating from Harvard, but alas, it was rejected by every possible publisher. After she got a couple more degrees and a job as a Shakespeare professor, she tried again, with much greater success. Over twenty best-sellers later, she teaches Shakespeare in the English Department at Fordham University in New York City. She's also the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

For info about books, visit www.eloisajames.com Or ask a question on Facebook (where Eloisa spends entirely too much time): https://www.facebook.com/eloisajames And then drop in on her very romantic, very Eloisa Tumblr blog, a labor of love: http://eloisajames.tumblr.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read the "Potent Pleasure" and I enjoyed the story very much. After reading it, I came online here to read the reviews of other people. I was amazed to see both wonderful and very terrible reviews. I began reading the 1-2 stars reviews and I discovered that the historical errors the "unhappy" readers talked about were not present it my "Potent Pleasures" book. I was confused and I truly thought that the 1-2 stars reviews must be talking about a different book than I read. I even went back to try to find the numerous historical errors which other people found, but I couldn't find them. Anyway, finally I figured the puzzle out. Apparently, I am the first one to be reviewing the paperback version of this story (which came out in May 2000) and I can tell you that the story errors, that the other readers pointed out, have been cleaned up and/or rewritten before the paperbacks went into print.
This is Eloisa James's first novel and on the whole I found the story to be very interesting and enjoyable. However, I am surprised that an unknown author would have had her first historical romance novel printed in a hardcover book. If I had purchased the $20.00 version of the book and found all the initial errors in the story, I too would have been upset. But for $6.00 the revised softcover version it well worth the money. It's a good story, and I am looking forward to Ms. James next "paperback" book. This new author has alot of potential!
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book was so poorly written I don't quite know where to begin. Since the author is a PHD in English, I suppose I'll begin there. The text is chock full of unnecessary colons, semi-colons, and exclamation points. At one point the heroine sees her mother's (the duchess), carriage arriving to pick her up from finishing school and she notes that the footmen are all 'in livery!'. I would think that it would be more remarkable if they were not in livery. The fact that they are in livery would not be a surprise to Charlotte. Colons and semicolons are even used in the dialogue, where it would have been far more appropriate to use dashes or dots.
There are also a couple of dangling participles with unintentionally humorous results. "Gasping, her eyes stared up into the dark leaves." is one that is particularly bad.
Here is a description of Charlotte (taken from the book).
'Just now the rage was for blondes: blondes with curly locks and blue eyes, but Charlotte had jet-black hair, her mama thought despairingly. She did have green eyes, but her skin was so white -- not a drop of color. True, with some coaxing her hair formed perfect ringlets, and her skin was creamy, but she was no pertly sweet debutante. Her eyebrows arched like question marks over eyes as green as the ocean on a cloudy day. In fact, her whole face was pointed like a question mark: Her chin formed a delicate triangle that simply led back to her eyes and those flying eyebrows.'
Her face was pointed like a question mark? Also, all through the book we hear about her flying eyebrows, and the hero's flying eyebrows (yes, he has them too) and the hero's daughter's flying eyebrows. Their eyebrows fly up in surprise too! A lot!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Janet on March 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I felt I had to write a review with the several scathing reviews already written. There are too many characters and the author tends to go off on a tangent with many of them. The first meeting between Alex and Charlotte WAS slutty. How could he have sex with a complete stranger and it supposedly mean a lot to him, yet he never recognizes Charlotte later. I found myself skimming over the too long paragraphs that had little to nothing to do with the plot. HOWEVER, these problems were mostly in the first half. I nearly put the book away to never finish it. I am glad I stuck with it. The second half is what grabbed me and didn't let me put it down till finished. The second half of the book is emotionally wrenching and moves along swiftly. The ending saved the book for me. The birth scene was heartbreaking and the love scene 2 months later was redeeming for Alex.

If you can plod through the first half, you will enjoy the second half enough to make it worthwhile.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Historical inaccuracy abounds when Lady Charlotte Daicheston and the Earl of Sheffield and Downes fall in lust. This book is filled with historical details -- most of which seemed to have been included without any regard to their appropriateness. Hence we are treated to time anomolies, such as the cameo appearance of the "formidable Lady Jersey" (page 32) when she was still a child. She may have been a formidable child, but she wasn't Lady Jersey or a "patron of Almack's" yet. At the same ball, guests danced the quadrille (page 33) nearly two decades before its introduction in England. And why did this wealthy duke's daughter have her London debut in August, two months after the customary end of the London season in June? Then there is the repeated misuse of titles, an incredible lapse for a book about British nobility. The younger son of Viscount Dewland CANNOT be Lord Dewland sans the death of his father and older brother (page 160-164). With each error, I found myself pulled out of the period, and consequently, the story. One could argue that the book showcases style over substance. The style problems begin on page 1 when the school mistress hisses "Julia!" How does one hiss a word whose only consonants are 'j' and 'l'? Then there are the pedantic comments inserted into the narrative, provoking in me an impolite urge to hiss "Duh." Furthermore, I found that the constant jumping from the thoughts of one character to another quickly became tiresome. I didn't need to read the mind of Charlotte's sister, Charlotte's maid, Charlotte's suitor, Charlotte's father, Charlotte's mother, Charlotte's family's butler, Charlotte's friend, Charlotte's friend's mother, Charlotte's friend's father, etc.Read more ›
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